Within four days WA Premier Colin Barnett overruled his decision to halve the 40 cent feed in tariff for 75,000 existing solar owners in WA. This strong back-flip has now formed precedent for the power of the solar voter.

The original announcement gained significant media attention and voter backlash; causing over 9,400 concerned solar owners to sign a petition against the existing removal of the feed in tariff.  Solar Citizens were instrumental in protecting these rights through media reporting and their petition.

For the government, this has been a lesson on the importance of engaging with the solar community. Many commentators predicted that the decision would have dramatically impacted the Coalition for the coming Federal election in several key seats. Dr. Geoff Evans of Solar Citizens said:

“This dramatic double-crossing by Barnett has the potential to change thousands of votes. In Hasluck, there are nearly 20,000 solar owners, and less than 600 votes are needed for that seat to change hands.”

Within minutes of the announcement, Federal Member for Hasluck Ken Wyatt tweeted: “Pleased to hear state gov decision reversed re solar tariff. #Hasluck families don’t need any more cost of living pressure #auspol.”

There was also significant internal pressure from the party, Hillarys MP Rob Johnson said he was innundated with emails and phone calls after the initial decision to slash the feed in tariff and was prepared to cross the floor to vote against it.

TheGreensWA also expressed approval at the decision: “The WA Government has backed down on Solar Rebate decision. Fantastic day for renewable energy & solar power! #auspol”

This all followed a similar outcome that occurred in NSW 2 years ago, where the government sought to retrospectively end the payments for feed in tariffs, but backed down due to pressure from solar owners. Both these decisions have concreted the power of the solar voter in Australia and their ability to influence government decisions and protect their interests.